Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia.
A little while ago I wrote a post about the Psycho Bitch From Hell phenomenon. It was re-posted, with my permission, on The Good Men Project under a slightly different name and it stirred up a lot of conversation. Where I called my post About Psycho Bitches from Hell they changed it into In Defense of Psycho Bitches From Hell. I agree the second title is catchier but it caused confusion too.
For a moment it felt exciting. My post was causing a storm of comments! The notifications were flooding my iPhone. This had never happened on my own website. I rushed back to my Colombian apartment to get my laptop, make myself comfortable and enjoy the wisdom that would surely come. But after reading a few comments I felt disappointed. To me it seemed that everybody was missing the point I was trying to make and quite a few got all worked up about things that I never said. I lost interest quickly, felt no incentive to participate in the discussion.
The phenomenon that I called the Psycho Bitch From Hell is in no way something that is clearly defined. Generally it is about a hot cool chick who turns out to have an unexpected dark side. She comes up in conversations of guys when they are exchanging dating experiences, she lives in anecdotes, she meets contempt and ridiculisation because of her perceived craziness. When a guy makes his buddies laugh because he has a psycho-bitch-story it doesn’t mean that he is telling the truth or that he is including her perspective. Perhaps she really overreacted and perhaps he was a completely insensitive jerk and unaware of the hurtful things that came out of his mouth before she started crying ‘for no reason’.
I spent the whole year of 2012 traveling and giving workshops on warriorship, leadership, courage, integrity, mindfulness and personal growth. I lived (for 1 or 2 months) and worked in Israel, Beirut (Lebanon), Baghdad (Iraq), India, Hong Kong, Thailand, Australia, the US and, currently, in Colombia. Among many things I noticed on my journey was that in guy-talk all over the planet the psycho bitch from hell pops up, that I am treated differently because I am a tall, muscular, blue eyed and – most importantly – white man (all highly valued traits in male dominant cultures) and that women are treated poorly and unjust in most cultures that I have seen. I realized that I am blessed to be born on the Western European side of the world. I also realized that my female friends have easier lives then their Indian, Arab or Chinese counterparts, even if they are going through horrible divorces or devastating diseases (which has happened and is happening). The reason is – I think – that in the western world we at least have agreed on the fact that a woman is a human being and that she therefore has equal human rights.
In my post I stated that I felt that it is hard being a woman, perhaps even harder than being a man. This statement caused all kinds of turmoil, many male commenters felt the need to illustrate how hard and unfair it was to be a guy in this day and age. I agree that an American man who has to pay a suffocating amount of alimony to his ex-wife and can’t see his kids suffers terribly from feelings of injustice but somehow it seems preferable over being beaten, locked up, denied education and raped. But if I am 100% right is not really the point. My statement was based on my observations and experiences, trying to devaluate my perspective by arguing how difficult the situation for American men is, is missing an opportunity to broaden your perspective. To understand the other you must not fall for the reflex to start defending your own point of view but try to identify with the point of view of the other. Developing the flexibility to let go of your own perspective and adopt a new perspective will make you grow.
Let me once again try to share my perspective with you.
My previous post was an attempt to explain seemingly irrational female behavior by trying to show how people get caught in a personality structure and how we try to find freedom within our constrictions. I described how being a ‘hot, sexy wild chick’ is just another role, just another cage. But because this particular package of characteristics is sexually attractive and immature men get burnt the Psycho Bitch From Hell stereotype has a bit of a urban myth like status that I wanted to balance more. This time I will share my insights on ‘how to neutralize craziness’ if you wish to call it like that or – my preference – how to be a mature man in a difficult situation.
If you want to deal with a ‘psycho bitch from hell’ you have to learn to listen. You have to understand what listening is. Listening is much more than hearing something, processing it and then reacting in a way that suits your beliefs and opinions about the world and yourself. That is what we think listening is. It is more than that. Listening is developing your awareness.
In his book ‘The Power of Now’ Eckhart Tolle speak of different levels of consciousness. I think he calls it ‘unconscious’ (the normal every-day human state), ‘deeply unconscious’ (rage, pain, suffering, deep ignorance, etc) and ‘awake’. Bitch-like behavior is just a form of deeply unconscious behavior. Like all deeply unconscious behavior it tends to provoke deeply unconscious behavior in others who are exposed to it. The art is to stay present amidst of turmoil. ‘Presence’ is something one can only develop by training.
During my mindfulness courses I read a poem to my participants at the end of every session. One of them is about this story: a ferryman is crossing the river with his boat. He sees another boat coming his way and shouts. The boat doesn’t change its direction and the ferryman shouts louder and louder at the other skipper. As the boats are about to collide the ferryman is cursing furiously. Then he sees that the other boat is empty.
The ferryman could have just changed his course at the moment he became aware of the other boat. All the anger, fear, frustration and pride were his own obstacles. If the ferryman had less inner obstacles it would be easier for him to maneuver his boat across the river.
Listening is not feeling sorry for yourself. When you learn to listen you will learn that the sad story you are telling yourself is just a sad story that you keep feeding. When you learn to listen you can transcend your own sad and disempowering story; you don’t have to take yourself so fucking seriously anymore. It is essential to transcend your own story because your story is like a lens: everything that you experience is colored and therefore contaminated by your past experiences. You will never really hear what the other is saying when you are filtering her words and actions through your personal lens. Once you have transcended your story you will make yourself available to others. If you are a heterosexual male this will naturally include the women you date.
Listening is not repeating what the voice in your head tells you to say. Listening is hearing all the voices and sensations until it gets quiet and you can hear what is underneath. When you become a good listener there is no separation between what you hear inside and outside. When you truly listen to a deeply unconscious person you will not feel a bitch or a jerk but only a deeply wounded, caged and desperate person.
Learning to listen will teach you compassion, not just for others but also for yourself. You will become kinder, more empathetic and you are not amazed when somebody starts shouting like the ferryman. You are honest enough to admit that you were the same not that long ago. You will learn to behave naturally instead of self conscious.
When you have learned to listen deeply you will be able to hold the space for others, including psycho bitches from hell. By not fighting her anger, woundedness or confusion you will help her ground. Also you will not feel the need anymore to box and label people the way you used to do before. But you can empathize with those who still do.
The difference between an immature and a mature man is presence. With presence comes selflessness, wisdom and compassion. When you understand your masculinity you want to serve the feminine where the immature man wants to suppress the feminine. A mature man wants to serve the feminine because it makes him complete and because he can. Some samurai master put it like this: when faced with a woman or child in a situation in which they are vulnerable, there are two types of men: those who would offer succor or aid, and those who prey upon them.
Woman is life and man is the servant of life. The male’s job is to protect the women.
– Joseph Campbell
The world desperately needs mature men. Our psycho bitches are good shit tests. If you don’t have enough presence to help her through her turmoil your contribution to mankind will be limited too. You need more practice. But if you can be with her in the midst of suffering and help her find the way back to clarity you will be able to touch many hearts in your life time. And you still practice because you want to practice.
How did you listen to the men commenting on your post? The men who misunderstood your point?
Charles R Cochems says
The term psycho bitch from hell is indeed misunderstood, but generally an actual psycho bitch from hell has either histrionic personality disorder, or borderline personality disorder.
I’d say most of your article is not about how to deal with an ACTUAL psycho bitch from hell.
The term gets thrown around a lot. But an ACTUAL psycho bitch from hell is Fatal Attraction level stuff.
Yes, when women aren’t listened to and empathized with, it can drive them a bit crazy, and men can get frustrated and label someone a psycho unfairly.
Here’s an example of a real psycho bitch from hell.
“Hey sweetie!” she sang, bursting into the office like a candy-scented typhoon of sunshine.
“Cherith?” Wade asked, looking up from his desk. He was surprised, confused, and more than a little bit terrified. “What are you doing here, um, babe?”
“It’s cold out, so I brought you a hot lunch!” She beamed. “It’s almost your lunchtime, right?”
Wade started to ask how she knew what time he ate lunch, but thought better of it. “Gee, Cheri, that’s really sweet of you, but …”
Cherith’s smile turned into a scowl. Storm clouds gathered.
“…I’ve got this lunch meeting today with my boss. I just can’t miss it.”
Cherith stared at him.
“I’m sorry, babe. How about later we can…”
Cherith exploded like a furious geyser. But, instead of superheated water, she was full of superheated rage.
“So that’s it, then?” she demanded.
“Cherith,” Wade tried again, “Please.”
“After everything I’ve done for you, how can you say that your stupid lunch meeting is more important than me?” Cherith’s voice rose to a window-shattering shriek.
People were starting to peek out of office doors and over the tops of cubicles now. Wade sunk down into his chair.
“It’s that slut at the front desk, isn’t it?” Cherith positively screamed. “Are you fucking her?”
“You are, aren’t you? How could you? And after I made you lunch and everything!”
Cherith threw the basket she was carrying.
Containers of scalding soup flew out and exploded all over the desk, the computer, and Wade’s clean white shirt.
A strip of condoms that had been in the basket landed in the puddling minestrone.
“You fucking asshole!” she yelled, turning on her heel and storming back out.
Literally everyone in the office stared at her, then at Wade, then back at her.
“And fuck you, too, slut!” Cherith screamed and shot her middle finger at Suze, the receptionist, as she passed.
For a minute, nothing moved. Nothing except soup dripping off the desk.
“Wade,” said Kent, his boss, “I need to see you in my office.”
How wold you deal with this one?
(and don’t say the man must have driven her to it. It never reaches THAT extreme if the person isn’t actually crazy)
Here is normal female mistaken for psycho bitch. THe sort of peole you are talking about.
Case Study 1: Jana
“Did you move my box?” Jana demanded.
“What box?” Irwin replied.
“The decorative one I put on the end table by the couch.”
“You mean that little pink one?”
“The one that’s too tiny to actually be useful for anything?”
“I put potpourri in it!”
“I wondered why that trail mix smelled so good but tasted so bad.”
“Did you move it, you asshole?”
“Yeah, it was in the way of my beer.”
“Where’d you put it?”
“Well, I ate all the trail mix, so I threw it out.”
“You threw it out?” Jana fumed.
“It was empty! You’re the one always getting on my case about cleaning up my trash.”
Jana grabbed Irwin’s all-state football trophy and threw it on the kitchen tile. It smashed to pieces—and cracked the tile.
“What the hell, Jana?” Irwin demanded.
“What the fuck, asshole?” Jana shot back, storming out of the room. “I hope you feel like watching a lot of porn.”
“Wait, what?” Irwin was confused.
“Because you can forget about getting laid this month.”
I heard the wisdom you convey in this message. Clearly the fact that so many miss the point of quiet reflection to relate to one another is illustrated in how epic a problem it is in our society. It seems magnified in other cultures and the result is the horrors of how we all treat one another. I do believe that if guys like you can keep explaining it to people, we will come to evolve once people understand.
Ms. M says
I learned not long ago to listen without my filters and it has been extraordinary going forward. It was interesting reading your story and how you came to it for yourself. Thank you for sharing!
I m not agreed with u whn u say western woman bec thy are psychos at least in india and asian ccountries woman are in more control and she respect her man. Never seen a woman slaping a man in india pakistan but in eurape and us its comon thy kick ur buts abuse u. All and take control in house. Whn thy are not capable woman should be in control and respectfull if. She is not u r in trouble as a man ur life is going to bi miserable and u are going to suffer with lots of depressions
If you are crossing the river of life and encounter a “psycho bitch” immediately change course and stay out of her way, avoiding the inevitable crash that can destroy you and those who genuinely deserve your care and protection. Listening to the psycho bitch only encourages and enables her. Apply the same logic that would be given to any woman in the reverse situation where a woman encountered a psychotic, obsessive, and destructive man: Get away as soon as possible. No one would advise a woman to be “mature” about it, listen, and try to help a psychotic man.
A neurotic woman will use every tool in her arsenal to trap you. Pregnancy will most likely be her first weapon of choice, but there will always be FOG (Fear, Obligation, and Guilt).
You are not responsible for her neurosis. She is an adult, not a child, and needs to seek professional help for herself. A clinical term for the “psychotic bitch” is BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder), a very serious condition which is a cross between Schizophrenia and Bipolar mental disorders.
Many of these women may be successful and high functional in other parts of their lives, which makes them more difficult to recognize in advance.
I am in full agreement with you.
I am currently trying to do everything that I can to get the psycho bitch from hell out of my life.
I am a woman dating a woman.
This isn’t a man victimization thing. There are f***ed up women who seem to be very normal until you hit some sort of deep dark button within them.
Wish me luck, this person is a nut-case.
I agree with this post. Where is the inverse. Who said men have to suffer an emotionally self indulgent crazy woman. She is an adult and shall respect her man not abuse him. Men are not here to serve women. We are here to be men first then decide If they want a Partner not a master.
It’s time for women to grow up and govern their emotions. Women do not have a right to vent their emotions whenever they FEEL like it.
I get tired of the excuse that women can lash out and be abusive and this is the mystique of the female. That’s insulting to women. I have met many women who are emotionally mature and well balanced. Like men there are nutty ones out their. I spent 9 years trying to (and still trying) to free myself from a borderline personality. To save my kids and my health. This diagnosis was given to me by a third party medical provider. The “bitchy woman” title is just a cover for borderline personality. If a man behavied this way he would be ostracized by the social and legal community. After my wife hit me she ranted that woman can’t hit men because men are stronger. The emotional and physical abuse to myself and out children has been immeasurable. But your saying it’s ok because women get a pass? As far as your statement about the rest of the world? It’s ok to treat a men bad because your justification is that some woman elsewhere in another country got a raw deal? Grow up. The only way we are going to grow as a society is to treat people equally – no matter the race, religion or sex.
I have read that some states are considering revising the unfair custody laws and approach a more fair access to children. Finally! Your article makes it sound as if all the whiny men should shut up and be glad they are taking it. The laws are devised to assume that all men are abusive monsters that should be cut of from chil rearing. I understand what woman have been through in the past. In my own family my mother was a victim of the system and could not leave an unhappy marriage for fear of losing her children and all financial support. Well unfortunately I am in that role now. How does making a system unjust in either direction validate it. I have met two men in my life that actually won custody of their kids – the degree that these women we’re so outright dangerous to lose their kids was astounding. The point here is that these are the exceptions for men. I have seen much more of the reverse. Women who get full custody because they are women and use the children to punish a good man. Don’t get me wrong I have seen abusive men. But how long to you treat a group in society with special protective rules before what your saying is their are not inherently equal. Is what your saying women ARE inferior and need special coddling? I think not. Just before you read into my statement I have immense respect for human being (women, men) there is no distinction. Also the low pay thing was based on comparing doctors to nurses. Lawyers to secretaries. In seed of comparing salaries by stereotyped job role – try comparing the SAME job class when talking salary.
Your a pussy whom is going to fall prey to a psycho bitch.
Phil Manning says
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I found them both informative and an enjoyable. My only concern is your use of the word psycho in your title and in numerous occasions throughout the piece. Unfortunately you make no real attempt to distinguish between a normal female who can who can feel empathy, love and compassion for those around them and a truly psychotic female.
This omission allow’s the personality disordered individual who deserves the title of “psycho bitch from hell’ to hunt in complete anonymity as they blend in with and taint the reputation of the real women around them! Good luck to anyone dealing with such an individual. Remember that psychopaths and there victims come from both sexes, it’s never been about gender! Below are some words that inspire me to continue fighting for my own personal autonomy.
“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster”
I have bpd and most women that do is because of men in their childhood that sexually and physically abused them. Girls are alot more likely to suffer sexual abuse and most times its at the hands of men. Yet because these men are incompetent and without much empathy, they brush off these ill women as psychos. Right now I have one male friend who understands probably because hes a therapist. When ive said offensive things he ignores me. He knows its just my defenses. When im being nice he shows alot of empathy. As a result i no longer feel like lashing out at him. I don’t feel the need to wear that strong armor around him. But other men? Yes. With their selfishness, games, objectification and lack of feelings, its enough to make any traumatized woman go even nuttier.
I wonder if it’s the winds blowing lady gigolo — you see women with bpd are easily noticeable and men spot it quick so if tour wearing your armour you automatically stick out like a sore thumb – and so you put men on guard and I’m sure you cop an attitude and men sense that and so naturally there is gonna be strife between men and you and so they are gonna show you lack of feeling, games I’m sure you start , and selfishness you see probably comes from letting you know your not entitled to their stuff , cuzz what I notice about no women , they think the world owes them whatever miss B.P. wants , for she thinks she is the queen of the world – so how you see and treat men probably raises men’s red flags – so they sense the wind your blowing in their direction –
Andy Hinds says
Only a Psycho Bitch From Hell would advise you to have empathy for a Psycho Bitch From Hell.
Firstly, it’s shocking how ignorant the people commenting in here are on the topic of borderline personality disorder. Secodly, it is amazing how you all dated someone with a disorder that affects two percent of the adult population. Look, if you had a horrible relationship, fine. But just throwing a label around for lack of better words doesn’t reflect well on you. One person even defined BPD as a cross between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Wow. Well, that is false. That would be schizoeffectibe disorder. Anyone who actually took the time to look into it would know. There’s this amazing tool called the internet that gives you access to all kinds of information. You can even reference your sources and make sure they’re reputable. At least for the time being. That said, BPD is quite a serious mental health disorder. If any of the women on here that people are commenting on actually have that, then it’s obvious no one here is looking into the matter to help. More like washing their hands. Helping someone doesn’t mean you have to stay in a relationship. If someone were truly suffering from a mental disorder…if they were abusive, and self destructive, then they need help whether it is borderline personality disorder or some other disorder. Sometimes they can’t get that help on their own. As for BPD, it got its name because people who suffered from it were originally thought to be on the, “border of psychosis and neurosis.” People with bordeline personality disorder often need extensive mental health care and make up twenty percent of psychiatric hospitalizations. Sound serious? It is. Real mental illness is serious and the last thing our society needs are people throwing labels around, possibly misrepresenting what true disability is. The good news is if people get help, many improve over time and are eventually able to lead productive lives. So maybe, just maybe the person you were in a relationship with really had this disorder, or maybe they didn’t. Either way, did you handle it well?
William Williams says
I’m a male, 49, who has spent the last 16 years trying to escape a psycho bitch. When I finally packed my clothes into a 30 for trailer and escaped to Oregon, she accused me of abuse, stole everything I have, moved her boyfriend into my house, and joined the abused woman club. I’ve disproven every claim, but they still refuse to prosecute her for assault with a deadly weapon and the multiple lies she admitted to. Women are fucked and the system is designed to make all males the aggressor.